American Tower Corporation (REIT) (NYSE: AMT) and Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. (NASDAQ:UNIT) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, dividends, risk, valuation, analyst recommendations, profitability and earnings.

Profitability

This table compares American Tower Corporation (REIT) and Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc.’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
American Tower Corporation (REIT) 18.58% 16.70% 3.74%
Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. -5.41% N/A -1.29%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations for American Tower Corporation (REIT) and Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc., as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
American Tower Corporation (REIT) 0 0 11 0 3.00
Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. 0 3 6 1 2.80

American Tower Corporation (REIT) currently has a consensus price target of $146.80, indicating a potential upside of 4.83%. Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. has a consensus price target of $30.25, indicating a potential upside of 98.23%. Given Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc.’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. is more favorable than American Tower Corporation (REIT).

Dividends

American Tower Corporation (REIT) pays an annual dividend of $2.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.9%. Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. pays an annual dividend of $2.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 15.7%. American Tower Corporation (REIT) pays out 106.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. pays out -750.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. American Tower Corporation (REIT) has increased its dividend for 5 consecutive years. Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Volatility and Risk

American Tower Corporation (REIT) has a beta of 0.69, meaning that its share price is 31% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. has a beta of 1.15, meaning that its share price is 15% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

92.1% of American Tower Corporation (REIT) shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 68.2% of Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.9% of American Tower Corporation (REIT) shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.4% of Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares American Tower Corporation (REIT) and Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc.’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
American Tower Corporation (REIT) $6.33 billion 9.49 $3.74 billion $2.49 56.24
Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. $831.65 million 3.22 $681.10 million ($0.32) -47.69

American Tower Corporation (REIT) has higher revenue and earnings than Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc.. Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than American Tower Corporation (REIT), indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

American Tower Corporation (REIT) beats Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. on 13 of the 18 factors compared between the two stocks.

American Tower Corporation (REIT) Company Profile

American Tower Corporation (ATC) is a holding company. The Company operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT), which owns, operates and develops multitenant communications real estate. ATC’s segments include U.S. property, Asia property, EMEA property, Latin America property, Services and Other. Its primary business is property operations, which include the leasing of space on communications sites to wireless service providers, radio and television broadcast companies, wireless data providers, government agencies and municipalities, and tenants in various other industries. Its U.S. property segment includes operations in the United States. Its Asia property segment includes operations in India. The EMEA property segment includes operations in Germany, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. The Latin America property segment includes operations in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru. Its services segment offers tower-related services in the United States.

Communications Sales & Leasing,Inc. Company Profile

Uniti Group Inc., formerly Communications Sales & Leasing, Inc., is an internally managed real estate investment trust engaged in the acquisition and construction of infrastructure in the communications industry. The Company focuses on acquiring and constructing fiber optic broadband networks, wireless communications towers, copper and coaxial broadband networks and data centers. It operates in four segments: Leasing, Fiber Infrastructure, Towers and Consumer Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (Consumer CLEC). The Leasing segment includes Uniti Leasing. The Fiber Infrastructure segment includes Uniti Fiber business. The Towers segment includes Uniti Towers and its ground lease investments. The Consumer CLEC segment includes Talk America. As of July 3, 2017, the Company and its subsidiaries owned approximately 88,100 fiber network route miles, representing approximately 4.8 million fiber strand miles and approximately 231,900 route miles of copper cable lines across 32 states.

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